[R-G] Oops, US bombs Northern Alliance posts
bstoller at utopia2000.org
Mon Oct 22 21:11:54 MDT 2001
AFP. 22 October 2001. US jets accidentally bomb anti-Taliban positions.
BAGRAM -- United States fighter jets on Monday mistakenly bombed
opposition posts during their third raid on Taliban frontlines north of
the Afghan capital Kabul, witnesses told AFP.
Four photographers were in an opposition post when two F-16's screamed
overhead. They said they saw at least two bombs land near opposition
posts and another on a Taliban-controlled area near Qalai Nasru, west of
Bagram airbase and situated some 45 kilometres (28 miles) north of
Opposition soldiers accompanying the photographers briefly fled their
positions after the strikes, which came the day after Washington had
called on the Northern Alliance to be more aggressive in fighting the
"They asked us if we had a telephone to call the Americans and tell
them they were making a mistake," said Ron Haviv, a US national working
for the Paris-based Agency VII.
The other photographers who witnessed the strike close up were Peter
Blakely, a US national working for the Saba agency, Tyler Hicks, a US
national with the New York Times and Moises Saman, a Spanish national
working for Newsday.
They said they were around 75 metres (250 feet) from where one of the
bombs hit a Northern Alliance post, one of a string of positions set up
in a maze of mud walls and fields here.
"Maybe they have made a mistake," explained a local commander, Sayed Mir
Shah. "We received two bombs on our side, the others were on the
He said there were no casualties among the opposition troops.
Two fighter jets circled several times over the frontlines and were seen
dropping three bombs at around 4:20 pm (11:50 GMT) as Taliban fighters
responded with light anti-aircraft fire.
The first attack on the Taliban's frontline positions defending the
Afghan capital was late on October 16 and in the early hours of October
17, when a convoy of Taliban troops and a militia post were struck by
The second raid was Sunday, when five bombs struck the Taliban's lines.
The Taliban have concentrated thousands of troops north of Kabul, and
witnesses have reported seeing convoys of additional militiamen
travelling to the lines to evade US-led strikes on Kabul.
General Baba Jan, opposition commander at the Bagram airbase, said the
strikes had yet to have any major effect on the Taliban line.
"America thinks that a few days of bombing will defeat the Taliban. We
have been fighting for 23 years and we have yet to bring peace to
Afghanistan," he said.
No senior opposition officials were immediately available for comment
after Monday's apparently botched jet attack.
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